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CBR’s interview with DC Co-Publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio is the gift that keeps on giving. And while their tandem answers to questions about the role of the Vertigo imprint will be playing under their reign — specifically, the rumor that Vertigo characters like Swamp Thing are on the verge of reintegration into the main DC Universe — leave lots of room for interpretation, they do paint a picture of the pair’s working relationship with both the line’s creators and its leader, DC Vice President – Executive Editor Karen Berger.
Shifting focus to talk about Vertigo for a minute. Recently, you’ve had two well-received launches with “American Vampire” and with “Greendale,” both of which represent in their own way the two things that Vertigo is most known for: long-running series with a definite shape and scope to them and stand alone volumes build for a general audience to jump right into. Neither of you had worked much with the Vertigo staff or on those kinds of properties before becoming co-publishers. Do you foresee that Vertigo will continue to present projects in those two veins, or do you think that you’ll change things up in terms of the kind of material and formats we see?
Lee: Karen Berger is fairly synonymous with Vertigo, so it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for us to walk in and say, “Hey, by the way…this is how Vertigo should run.” We certainly sat down with her and went over all the titles and how the publishing plan should run. And fortunately, we had a great dialogue, and through that dialogue we’ve really come to lay down some stuff we think will best represent Vertigo as a line and will create more hits like “American Vampire” and “Greendale” that we think will make an impact with the readers. Part of the trick is that they do a lot of one-offs, so you don’t have projects dealing with well-known characters with established histories. It’s not just about finding diverse material. It’s about pushing the marketing to find new audiences for this material. It’s a great challenge, and that’s how Dan and I helped Karen – in pushing Vertigo as a line. And that’s where I think we’ll be more helpful than necessarily deciding “it’ll be this book and these creators,” because that’s what she and her team are so good at.
Acclaimed “weird fiction” author China Miéville has confirmed the cancellation of his planned Swamp Thing reboot for Vertigo, the apparent result of an editorial decree to return the character to the DC Universe.
“My feelings at the moment can doubtless be intuited,” Miéville wrote in an email to the Roots of the Swamp Thing fansite, “though I have nothing but gratitude and respect for the people I worked directly with at DC, who were consummately professional and helpful.”
Created in 1971 by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, Swamp Thing starred in his own comic from 1972 to 1976. The title was relaunched in 1982 as The Saga of the Swamp Thing, which rose to critical acclaim in the hands of the (then) relatively unknown writer Alan Moore. The series moved under the Vertigo banner with the imprint’s founding in 1993, and it’s remained there ever since. Swamp Thing hasn’t been published since 2006, when the fourth volume was canceled.
Miéville, who’s known for such award-winning novels as Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The City & The City, told the fansite he had planned “an ‘epic’ arc, in terms of scale and stakes,” for his Swamp Thing series. That 15- to 18-issue arc would’ve been “pretty political,” but not “entirely straightforwardly traditional ‘green’ politics.”
“It was conceived of, at least in part, as a respectful argument with some of Alan Moore’s formulations,” he wrote. He provides more “vague” details in his response to the fansite.
There’s no indication yet as to what creators might relaunch Swamp Thing under the DCU bullet. It’s likely any announcements will be held until Comic-Con International in July.
Miéville’s latest novel Kraken will be published this month by Del Rey.